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Teens learn turntable basics at library event

OCEANSIDE — A thumping sound could be heard coming from the conference room at Mission Branch Library on Nov. 18. Behind the closed door, teens were dropping beats and scratching records in a workshop that taught them the basics of being a deejay.
Music producer and deejay Matthew Cooper, who deejays under the name Librarian, explained the history of deejay mixing and led teens in a hands-on demonstration of how-to basics.
“The whole deejay culture is very wide,” Cooper said. “There are radio station deejays, hip hop deejays, scratch deejays.”
Cooper demonstrated his specialty of electronic music deejaying.
“I’ll be showing them how to mix two records together to make one song between two songs,” Cooper said. “There is a heavy amount of artistry you can get into.”
After a brief lecture and demonstration, teens stepped up to get their hands on records and move the slider. Cooper chose two records with simple beats and coached the kids on how to listen for the timing.
Michelle Weaver, 14, of Oceanside, stepped up, put on the headphones, focused and scratched the record. She beamed as Cooper shouted out, “Perfect.” Michelle has played bells and has some drum experience.
“With ‘DJ Hero’ (and other popular video games), kids don’t really know what it really is,” Cooper said. “It’s so old, it’s still done with two record players and a mixer. It hasn’t changed so much.”
As a career, up-and-coming deejays can make $200 a night. Big name deejays like Paul Oakenfold earn $20,000 a night.
“I love presenting music I love in a different way,” Cooper said. “I listen to new music all the time and am always thinking of new ways to present it to a crowd. The power of music is pretty incredible.”
Oceanside Public Library offers more than 100 free cultural and educational programs a year. The deejay workshop targeted an interest of teen library-goers.
“We hope a lot of teens and young adults find it useful and come to the library to see all the things were doing,” Franklin Escobedo, young adult services librarian, said. “We want people to see something they’re interested in and help them find a passion.”